Majorities in MU Law poll back mask requirements, potential business and school shutdowns

Marquette University Law School.

Last updated on August 12th, 2020 at 02:45 pm

A majority of registered voters in Wisconsin support requiring people to wear masks in all public places and are open to additional shutdowns of schools and businesses if coronavirus cases rise in the state, according to the latest Marquette University Law School poll.

The poll found 69% of registered voters agree with requiring masks in all public places and 54% disagreed with the idea of keeping schools and businesses open if COVID-19 cases rise.

Marquette conducted the poll from Aug. 4-9 and surveyed 801 registered voters, giving it a margin of error of plus or minus 3.9%.

The poll did not ask specifically about Gov. Tony Evers requiring masks or other local requirements. It simply asked respondents if they agreed with requiring masks in all public places.

Support of requiring masks was split along party lines with 43% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents agreeing with the requirement. On the other hand, 93% of Democrats and Democrat-leaning independents supported the measure.

Among those who describe themselves as truly independent, 71% agreed with requiring masks.

Women were more likely to agree with the requirements at 75% compared with 61% of men.

Those over 60 were also more supportive with 79% agreeing along with 69% of those 18 to 29. Among those 30 to 44, 64% agreed with the requirement while 61% of those 45 to 59 support the measures.

Support was also higher among those making $75,000 a year or less.

Geographically, the city of Milwaukee had the strongest support with 83% agreeing with requiring masks. In the rest of the Milwaukee media market, 64% agreed with the requirement. Support was strong in the Madison market at 78% and Green Bay-Appleton market at 73%. Support was lowest across the rest of Wisconsin at 60%.

Partisan division also appeared in response to how the state should address rising numbers of coronavirus cases.

Just 10% of Democrats and Democratic-leaning independents said schools and businesses should stay open even if cases rise compared to 73% of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents. Among independents, 34% supported keeping schools and businesses open.

Divisions similar to those for mask requirements occurred on gender, age, income and geographic lines.

Men were evenly divided with 46% agreeing with keeping things open and 48% disagreeing. On the other hand, 35% of women agreed with remaining open while 59% disagreed.

Just 28% of voters 18 to 29 agreed with staying open and 35% of those over 60 did as well. Among those 30 to 44, 43% agreed with staying open while 49% of those 45 to 59 wanted to remain open.

For those making more than $75,000 per year, 46% agreed with staying open, compared to 38% of those making $40,000 to $74,000 and 32% of those making less than $40,000.

Geographically, just 22% of those in the city of Milwaukee agreed with staying open if cases rise, compared to 45% in the rest of the media market. In the Madison market, 35% agreed with staying open and 39% agreed in the Green Bay-Appleton market.

Across the rest of the state, 46% agreed with staying open and 47% disagreed.

The poll also asked about several business-related questions. Those findings included:

  • 57% agreed with raising the minimum wage to $15 per hour
  • 54% disagreed with repealing the Affordable Care Act or Obamacare
  • 37% agreed with enacting a Green New Deal while 32% disagreed and 31% said they don’t know
  • 75% agreed with requiring companies to provide 12 weeks of paid maternity leave
  • 49% agreed with raising tariffs on imports from other countries.

Looking ahead, 45% of respondents said they expect the economy to get better over the next year, a figure that is down slightly from June, but roughly equal to where it stood in May and late March.

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Arthur Thomas
Arthur covers manufacturing for BizTimes. He previously was managing editor at The Waukesha Freeman. He is a graduate of Carroll University and did graduate coursework at Marquette. A native of southeastern Wisconsin, he is also a nationally certified gymnastics judge and enjoys golf on the weekends.

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